Archive for the ‘WyoLum Progress’ Category
HELP MAKE ROBOBRRD HAPPEN!
FUND IT HERE: http://www.indiegogo.com/robobrrd
RoboBrrd is now on Indiegogo! We’re really excited to get this going! Here is the video for the campaign:
Watch on YouTube
We will be posting updates and more as it happens today!
Help us get the word out, be sure to tell all your friends about RoboBrrd!
We’re having a kickoff party at 4PM ET! Join us in a Google+ Hangout and feed RoboBrrd, and just hang out! Details here! Hope to see ya there!
Having various projects open source is a great learning tool. I probably wouldn’t have been able to make anything if there were no open source gEDA projects (Evil Mad Science makes a lot of open source projects that use gEDA), or wouldn’t be able to make an Arduino derivative if it wasn’t open source, or wouldn’t have been able to check my voltage regulator circuit against an experts circuit!
My goal for making the RoboBrrd Brain Board v2 open source is: someone will see the board with the artwork, want to put their own artwork on it, realise that it is possible, and learn all about schematics pcbs geda and bash in the process. Of course, hopefully they post a pic up online of their own board too!
The RoboBrrd Brain Board v2 is open source under the CERN OHL v1.1. Here you can find the RoboBrrd Brain Board v2 files!
Hopefully nothing is forgotten in the credits. If there’s something messed up in the credits, let me know so I can fix it!
The RoboBrrd Brain board is based off of the Arduino Uno R3 by the Arduino team. It’s a really cool board that is a lot of fun, you can find out more about it here:
We looked at the Diavolino by Evil Mad Science a lot for making the RoboBrrd Brain Board as theirs was created in gEDA too. The Diavolino information can be found here:
For some of the symbols and footprints in the schematic and pcb files, we used Matt Pandina’s version. You can see his .sym’s & .fp’s in src.zip here:
For some other symbols and footprints, they were from gEDA Symbols. A variety of these were used, and the authour information should be within their footprint or symbol. Check out gEDA Symbols here:
For our voltage regulator circuit, we looked at the Menta design from Adafruit Industries. Especially the 3.3V regulator section of the circuit and the capacitors. Here is where you can find out more about the Menta:
The first few prototypes of the RoboBrrd Brain Board v2 were fabbed at the OSH Park! Their boards are purple and gold, and it’s a great service. Check it out here:
The medium sized OSHW logo on the board is from the gEDA format of logos that Windell Oskay made. You can find all the logos here:
Finally, credit to the whole maker community for being fun, cool, and helpful with answering questions & learning more!
Here are some things with the files that would be good to know:
- The BOM included was just generated from the netlist, and it may not have the values of the jumpers and misc parts. It does have the resistors and capacitors values, though.
- The schematic is a little ‘all over the place’ compared to others. It kind of grew wildly as I was adding some things to it, and I didn’t make it very neat.
- Oh yeah, I haven’t tested the board in real life since I don’t have the board yet! So it may not work at all. :p
- If something is missing, let me know so I can fix it up
I tried to read the TAPR license and the CERN license many times, but reading this type of document is quite challenging for me. See, they write the document thinking that the way it will be read is from one line to the next line. This is incredibly annoying, since I read right-left-bottom-top-middle-left-upsidedown and not in order. Oh, and the TAPR license starts off with a huge preamble book that you have to read through, so by the time you reach the actual license part, you’re already super tired.
Since I couldn’t figure out what the differences were, I chose CERN because it’s more modern, they are working on v1.2, the Adafruit raspberry pi plate uses it so it was a good example (and they are experts so they hopefully know what is happening), and the logo is very cute. It would be nice if in the future each license would be required to make a human-readable form.
The above is just my opinion on the licenses. I don’t mean any offence to one license or the other, or whoever made them.
The next RoboBrrd Brain Board v2 post will be when I receive the boards! I can’t wait for that, pretty excited!
Here is a colourful annotated picture of what will be on the RoboBrrd Brain Board! This would make a great fridge magnet or something
One of the things I thought would be handy would be to have a shorting block switchey area for both the microcontroller voltage and the servo voltage. This way you can choose what power source you want to run the microcontroller off of, AND if you want the servos to run off of that same power source (from the microcontroller), or from the external regulator. Although with the redesign the servos run fine off the usb power, figured might as well add it in incase someone wants to use even more servos on RoboBrrd!
Crossing my fingers that the onboard 5V regulator won’t heat up too much. It will be interesting to test it out, especially since the copper fill below it should act as a heatsink. The reason why it is facing inwards is because if it was facing outwards, it would be next to the back face of RoboBrrd. This is commonly made out of wood, which I reckon is more flammable than the black plastic used on the headers. Plus, this is where all of the cables will be attaching in, and you wouldn’t want your finger to accidentally slip and burn on the voltage regulator.
Randomly placed picture of the board, here!
Wondering if it will be possible to run this with just a ceramic resonator. I’m not too sure of the quality difference between a crystal and a ceramic one, especially for RoboBrrd. I will find one and desolder it to use with this testing!
There are two ways to input the voltage, the barrel jack will be great with some 5V transformers that plug into the wall. The relief holes I was inspired by the Diavolino. I think I modified the ones on here to be a few more mils smaller or closer … or something like that. These will be great with a small AA battery pack. Totally interested in seeing how long the battery life will be!
Back of the board is kind of boring, since it will be placed on RoboBrrd, I didn’t provide any useful labels. Course, thinking of it now, there should be some for the ‘useful stuff’ headers, and there should probably be some sort of pads for accessing the digital pins, not on the headers.
It would be really cool if this board / layout could be used in other projects as well. The screw terminals are really handy. The artwork may need to change for other purposes though, haha!
In the next RoboBrrd Brain Board v2 post, will be where you can download all the filez, and the post after that will be … whenever I receive the boards in real! They are being fabbed today!
Since redesigning RoboBrrd went so well, the base was eliminated. This meant that the previous version of the RoboBrrd Brain Board was way too gigantic! Luckily, an Arduino does fit into the back of RoboBrrd. It’s a tight squeeze for all directions with all the items I wanted to put on the board.
Making all of the footprints and such was quite tedious and time consuming. Hopefully there will be no mistakes. Slowly getting better at designing boards, but it is still very challenging! Here’s a timelapse video of making the board… it was a lot of work.
Here is what the board will look like:
These images were actually rendered from the gerber files on OSH Park, it’s pretty fancy!
When I receive the boards from OSH Park, I will be desoldering some Arduino derivatives, using their parts in this one, and see if it works! They are going out to the fab on Friday, so perhaps I will receive them before August 10th!
To design the RoboBrrd Brain Board, I used the gEDA suite of tools. For creating the schematic, I used gschem. For creating the board from the schematic, gsch2pcb. For modifying the board, pcb. Finally, for viewing the gerbers, gerbv.
It is quite a delightful set of tools that can do basically whatever your imagination wants to (more on this in a later post ). Very scriptable, open source too.
There is one thing that happened to me with gEDA, but not directly gEDA’s fault. I believe a Dropbox mismatch happened, something was corrupted, which lead to this ‘Abort trap: 6′. Also, couldn’t find any backups.
Luckily that version did not have too much work done already. Here’s an image with everything as a work-in-progress:
As you have seen with the above final board, there are curved routes on it. The trick that I have found with curved routes is to use diagonal lines first, all of the same size (so it is better to copy and paste the same line). Afterwords, you can go through and replace the diagonal lines with an arc. This way the routing will still be tidy.
It is a good idea to keep an eye out on how ‘tidy’ your routes are, especially if you have to use vias. Since vias usually extend beyond the width of the route, there may not be enough space for them.
Also, on the topic of vias, make sure the soldermask is over them (thanks EMSL for pointing that out on Twitter!)
Another thing to look out for are drill sizes. Although the pins may all look to be roughly the same sizes, they may not be. This trickery can happen when using many different footprint files, so watch out! Having many drill holes can increase the cost that it takes to make your board. The drill hole info was generated when exporting the board as a postscript (ps) file, but you can also see it when exporting to a gerber.
In order to reduce the number of different drill holes in the RoboBrrd Brain Board v2, I grouped some together that should be the same size. Then opened the .pcb file in TextEdit (made a backup first as well), found the pads that needed fixing by searching for the name of the footprint or name of the element, and replaced the Pad information.
In the previous RoboBrrd Brain Board, I placed the artwork directly on the pcb. This time I created the artwork as a footprint, and placed the footprint on the pcb. This makes it much easier to delete it and replace it very quickly.
Here is a screenshot of the gerber view. Looking at the gerbers is always rewarding as it is brightly coloured!
Actually, there are a few changes from the screenshots to the final version, namely the fills and the edges. Gave the edges of the board a nice big arc so they will be smooth!
Hope that these lessons learned while designing this board will help some people thinking about making their own boards! It’s an interesting way of making things, and definitely recommend trying it at least once!
In the next RoboBrrd Brain Board v2 post, I’ll discuss why I placed components where they are! In the post after that, it will be about if they actually work! The post after that one will be about where to download all the filez!
From the Cloud Robotics Hackathon, Marek and I won tickets to go to the International Startup Festival! We also got a demo table for robotics, thanks to Sara and the organizers. It was at the Old Port (in Montreal), so it was nice to be out in the daylight for two days. There were only about 4 other hardware companies there, the rest were software.
We were also on the Montreal Gazette live feed.
My goal for the few days was to get a small grant / angel investment / donation for beta test funding. We didn’t exactly achieve all of this, but I still plan to do a beta test anyway.
There were many people who visited RoboBrrd’s demo table, which was quite kind of them. It was fun to try to convince them that RoboBrrd is a really cool thing, and it was interesting to hear the feedback.
The first reason for people believing RoboBrrd will be a failure is that it will cost too much. Everyone there kept comparing it to a toy, rather than an educational tool.
The second reason for people believing RoboBrrd will be a failure is that the pieces will not be made in China. This sort of fits in with the first reason above.
The third reason for people believing RoboBrrd will be a failure is that I don’t deliver a pitch in 30 seconds.
The forth reason for people believing RoboBrrd will be a failure is that the
electronics/hardware/programming isn’t done already.
The list could go on for a little while longer, but I’ll stop here. There are rebuttals for each point. We were also supposed to be interviewed on an internet vodcast that I was on before, but they forgot about me. (owch)
I’m still working on RoboBrrd, and still going to go ahead with it, even though everyone in the world thinks it will be a failure (except for me) (yup that was an exaggeration). Even if it is a failure, it’s only 1/2 failure because it is open source (source will be up when it works 100% flawlessly).
All in all, I still had a good time there, and it would be nice to go back next year though with way more robots and hopefully a little bit more successful. It was great to run into people from Startup Weekend, as well as meet people that I already met before!
Now it is time to go and work on the RoboBrrd Brain Board and some minor CAD fixes! If you haven’t already, sign up for the RoboBrrd Mailing Scroll! Oh yeah, don’t forget to feed RoboBrrd on the Brrd Watcher!
Thanks again to the Cloud Robotics Hackathon for the tickets!
There was a lot of negative in this post, but the next post will be more positive!
They aren’t available yet, because it doesn’t WORK! The beak mechanism still needs some fine tuning, and it is pointless for me to allow everyone in the world to make their own crippled RoboBrrds.
When it does work finally, the .svg’s will be available and they will be open source Just wanted to clarify this for everyone, we have had a lot of people asking since Maker Faire which is really nice! I’m as eager as everyone else is to make it work finally
In the meantime, check out the Instructable for the popsicle stick version of RoboBrrd!
There will be more RoboBrrd blog posts coming up soon! Chrrp chrrrrrrp!
Up to this point the progress on RoboBrrd has been pretty scrambled. But tonight, I hit a milestone! The cardboard prototype of RoboBrrd is pretty good! The only thing that needs to be confirmed is how to actually attach the beak to the frames to make it rotate, same with the wings. There should be some sort of rivet that can be used
This picture isn’t the exact beak version, but it illustrates the point here.
Out of nowhere I wake up with this idea that it would be really cool to have the wing servos and beak servo supported by being suspended between the top and bottom faces. It took a while to get this idea working, and the pieces for this stage are extremely dependent on each other. However, using this idea saves an incredible unbelievable amount of space.
One of the great things about being here is to rapidly prototype everything. It helped get the beak centered and sorted out very quickly compared to if I were to just try to do it by CAD. Here is a stack of cardboard brrds that are swamping Impy RoboBrrd!
It takes a while to understand the best settings to choose for laser cutting a material that does not have a template for it. For cardboard I usually had to do multiple passes. Each time I tweak the parameters and am getting pretty close to having great cuts on the first try.
There has been a lot of thought that has gone into what material should be used. At first I started out using basswood, but to get it in 6 inches rather than 4 is quite more expensive, and not a lot of people have it around. In the end we’re going to be using some mdf. It’s not very expensive, and it is really sturdy!
For fun, here was some test cuts done on extruded polystyrene. This stuff laser cuts really easily, but you can’t depend on it for kerf testing.
Here is another pic of the initial cardboard lasercut testing. On the corners are some supports that will help in the stability of RoboBrrd to prevent it from collapsing :p
CAD has been so helpful lately. It sucks that I have to use it on this tiny screen, but the number of mistakes that you can catch before cutting is quite amazing. Creating assemblys of all the parts and seeing the piece right before your eyes is amazing!
One of the highlights of being here is that in addition to their amazing laser cutter, they have a shopbot cnc! It is really noisy when it is actually cutting.
Robot Party Raster Laser Cut
Created with cinemagr.am
I’m also working on some stamps of the Robot Party and RoboBrrd for Hackerspace passports.
The process for laser cutting stamps is interesting. A lot of the features are already built in to the driver software. One of the main differences though is that it is a raster cut rather than vector cut.
Going to the local electronics stores is really cool. You never know what you will find, like this really nice robot hidden away:
In case you missed it, there are two guest blog posts that I’ve done on the Evil Mad Scientist blog! The first one is how to blink an LED with an AVR! Go read it!
The second one is Part 1 of a Heathkit build. It is so cool. Also weird timing because the day I posted it, they also decided to shut down again. They must have seen the blog post and were terrified XD. The build is a lot of fun, so go read about it!
That is about all the progress for now. I’ve done some cool things with code that I can’t really mention here just yet since it is still secret. The past few days I’ve been working on making it parametric so that many more things will be easier. Only problem is that sometimes making things parametric is really trying.
Been learning lots all about electronics and trying to soak it all in like a sponge. Only problem is that with my memory, I hardly soak anything in. But at least the really interesting parts seem to stick pretty well
Another thing that has to be done is that this bird has to be hacked somehow! Since it is so adorable I was thinking of some non-invasive hackery, like adding LED bling or an animatronic exoskelton to it.
There is so much more to be accomplished before Maker Faire Educational Day. It’s going to be insane. I hope I’ll be able to do it all! If RoboBrrd kit version doesn’t get done now, it will probably never get done because there just aren’t that many resources like everything at EMSL up in Canada. This is the sprint before the finish line!